Microsoft Consumer Pitch Steals Microsoft Cloud Thunder
How’s this for ironic: During Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference 2010 (WPC10), Microsoft’s consumer product pitches — featuring Windows Phone 7 and XBox Kinect — stole Microsoft’s channel cloud thunder. Here’s a recap of Microsoft Channel Chief Jon Roskill’s keynote, and a look at Microsoft’s somewhat awkward attempt to shift from consumer products to channel cloud discussions during a single session.
To be fair, Microsoft covered a lot of ground this morning. The problem: The consumer product pitches were very strong and generated lots of crowd energy. By the time Roskill was back on stage to talk with partners about their cloud strategies, much of the energy had left the room… and some attendees were heading for the exits.
Still, there were plenty highlights. Here are seven of them:
1. Cloud Triple Play: During Roskill’s opening statement, he recapped Microsoft’s focus on Windows Azure Appliance, BPOS (Business Productivity Online Suite) and Windows Intune. No verbal mention of Windows 7 or Office 2010. Everybody (cloud) understand (cloud) Microsoft’s (cloud) priorities?
2. Personal Cloud: Through personal cloud computing — available by the end of 2010– consumers for the first time will get the PC, the phone, the cloud and the console working together, Microsoft asserted. During demonstrations, Microsoft showed how users can automatically synchronize files, folders, videos and music across a range of devices — using Windows 7 as a media hub and the so-called Personal Cloud.
3. Windows Phone 7: Microsoft said Windows Phone 7 devices would arrive before the end of 2010. Dell and several other OEMs were mentioned during the demo. The VAR Guy will share some more details about the Windows Phone 7 strategy later today.
4. XBox Goes Beyond the Box: Um, Microsoft showed off the next version of Halo. Impressive graphics. Awesome sound. But where’s the channel hook? The VAR Guy is still searching. Seems as if Microsoft wants to beat Apple at its own game… Win the consumer market and you’ll win more corporate business, so the theory goes. But the Halo demo seemed like a bit of a stretch for this audience. Or was it?
Side note: Microsoft also demonstrated Xbox Kinect, a new “controller” that’s really a motion sensor. It essentially frees you from handheld controllers… Very slick, assuming it works as advertised when XBox Kinect arrives in late 2010. The VAR Guy shot some video of XBox Kinect in action. Stay tuned for the video later today.
5. Windows 7 Sales: Microsoft says Windows 7 is selling roughly 7 copies per second, and sales surpassed 150 units as of June 2010. No debate here: Generally speaking, most Windows 7 users tell The VAR Guy they like the operating system.
6. Back to the Cloud: After the consumer product pitches, Microsoft Channel Chief Jon Roskill shifted the conversation back to cloud computing. He described how a range of Microsoft solutions — from Windows 7 to BPOS — can help VARs transition customers to the cloud. Then, seven partners from across the globe described how they’re profiting in the cloud — amid fierce competition from Google Apps.
But here’s the problem: The cloud pitch came far too late in the session — and after the enthusiastic consumer demos. Some folks were heading for the exits while valuable cloud partner info finally reached the stage.
7. Next Steps: Roskill discussed tools, resources and sales support that Microsoft is delivering to help partners plan and build profitable businesses in the cloud and advance their cloud knowledge, including partner opportunity guides for cloud services, the new Microsoft Cloud Essentials Pack and Microsoft Cloud Accelerate Program designation, and new solution incentives for partners. Microsoft says more details are available here.
Also, Roskill discussed some free partner offers for BPOS and other cloud services. The VAR Guy will offer more details soon. Plus, The VAR Guy will catch up with Roskill and other channel team members later today. Stay tuned for more details later today.